Serena is the name of a conversational chatbot designed to communicate with people and assess their feelings of unwanted loneliness. Through machine learning, and with the contribution of citizen participation, it helps early detection and improve the quality of life of the elderly and their caregivers. This research project of the GIANT (Machine Learning for Smart Environments) group, which had an important echo in the media when it was launched during the first Covid-19 confinement in Spain, will be one of the main lines of work of the new Cuatroochenta Chair in Artificial Intelligence, Health and Wellbeing of the Universitat Jaume I. Directed by the two professors who lead Serena, Óscar Belmonte (Languages and Computer Systems) and Antonio Caballer (Developmental, Educational, Social and Methodological Psychology), and promoted by Cuatroochenta to get even more involved in putting technology at the service of people and in building bridges for the transfer of knowledge between universities and companies.
“The deployment of artificial intelligence implies important changes and we must find a way to take advantage of it so that it has a positive impact, in this case, in the field of health and well-being”, said the rector of the Universitat Jaume I, Eva Alcón, at the signing of the agreement to create the Chair on 11 June, during which she also praised the company’s trajectory.
“The collaboration of the UJI with Cuatroochenta means betting on artificial intelligence focused on people”
Eva Alcón (Rector of the Universitat Jaume I of Castelló)
Equity, accountability and transparency in the use of AI
In addition to research, the objectives of the new chair, as stated in the three-year collaboration agreement with the UJI, are to promote training and the dissemination of knowledge and innovation. Paying “special attention to the advantages of the use of machine learning algorithms capable of making predictions, generating new knowledge and personalising the applications, products and services offered to people in the field of health”. All this while monitoring the ethical implications of artificial intelligence, “in particular to prevent discriminatory outcomes”, applying principles of fairness, accountability and transparency..
The directors of the chair, Óscar Belmonte and Antonio Caballer, stress the importance of the fact that the “chair guarantees the continuity of research that is showing very good results” and that it is “one of the first chairs specialising in technology and health”. In addition to the Serena project, Belmonte and Caballer are also developing Senior monitoring, an indoor localisation project which, through behavioural patterns and gait speed sensors, can detect cognitive decline and related diseases.
The aim is to bring technology to society
Cuatroochenta has been collaborating on this research since its inception in 2016. The same as since 2015 with Mit4, promoted by Professor Óscar Belmonte himself together with Reyes Grangel and Mercedes Segarra, a pioneering educational project to promote entrepreneurship among university students, developed in the Degrees in Computer Engineering, Computational Mathematics and Video Game Design and Development of the UJI and awarded by the Society of Software Engineering and Software Development Technologies (SISTEDES).
Sergio Aguado, CIO, founding partner of Cuatroochenta and main promoter of the chair, is clear that the ultimate goal of this path of collaboration with university research into technologies applied to health is to contribute to “making it sustainable so that it really reaches society and the people affected end up benefiting from these technologies”. “There is a part of social responsibility on our part and we will also make every effort to connect the chair with interested companies, so that this technology can be put into operation,” explains Aguado.
Among the motivations that have led Cuatroochenta to get involved in the UJI chair, Santi Gimeno, CBO and managing partner of Cuatroochenta, also highlights that of “giving back to the university, in whose Espaitec technology park our headquarters are located, part of what it has given us in terms of training, quality of life and attracting talent”.
“The Cuatroochenta Chair seeks to ensure that research into artificial intelligence applied to health is sustainable and reaches society”.
Sergio Aguado (CIO and founding partner of Cuatroochenta)